NASA imagery confirms fires burning in orangutan hotspot

NASA imagery confirms fires burning in orangutan hotspot

27 March 2012

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Indonesia — Satellite data from NASA confirms that fires are burning in an orangutan hotspot slated for conversion to oil palm plantations.

According to Web Fire Mapper, a U.N. Food and Agriculture (FAO) site based on NASA MODIS data, there are dozens of fires burning in Tripa, an area of peat forest in Aceh Province, on the island of Sumatra. The fires are burning in an area recently granted as a concession to PT. Kallista Alam, a palm oil company.

Local communities have lodged a legal complaint against PT. Kallista Alam for the project, while a coalition of environmental have filed suit for the alleged breach of a national moratorium on clearing of deep peat areas. Conservationists say the area in question is part of the protected Leuser Ecosystem and is also home to one of the densest populations of Sumatran orangutans.

A decision in the case is expected tomorrow. WALHI, the environmental coalition, is planning a press conference to discuss the ruling at noon in Jakarta.

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